Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Is a business/mark name available?

You can check business/mark names through the free online Business Entity Search.

Business/Mark Name

A registered business/mark name must be sufficiently distinctive from another registered business/mark name so that it does not cause confusion in an absolute or linguistic sense.

The following makes a business/mark name distinguishable on our records:

  • Key words are different and do not copy a business/mark name already on record.  A “key word” is any word other than articles, prepositions, conjunctions, or business name identifiers as defined in 30-13-201, MCA. For example:  “Bill’s Carpentry” is distinguishable from “Bill’s Builders.”
  • Key words are the same, but are in a different order.  For example:  “Yellowstone Hotel” is distinguishable from “Hotel Yellowstone.”
  • The use of geographic designations.  For example:  “Helena Auto Painting: is distinguishable from “Boulder Auto Painting.”
  • Phonetic similarities.  For example:  “Maid in Montana” is distinguishable from “Made in Montana.”
  • Abbreviations.  For example:  "Montana Ave Salon" is distinguishable from "Montana Avenue Salon."
  • Different spellings of proper names.  For example:  "Jayne's Boutique" is distinguishable from "Jane's Boutique."
  • Unique or improper spelling.  For example: "Black Cat Designs" is distinguishable from "Black Kat Designs."

The following conditions will not make a registered business/mark name distinguishable from another registered business/mark name:

  • The use of punctuation marks.  For example: "R/D Construction" and "R D Construction" are not distinguishable.
  • The use of special characters.  Special characters are non-alphabetical and non-numeric characters such as @, #, $, %, &, *, and + that can represent a word.  For example:  “25 % Better, Inc.” and “25 Percent Better, Inc.” are not distinguishable.
  • The use of articles "a," "an," or "the.”  For example: "The Painted Pony" and "Painted Pony" are not distinguishable.
  • The use of business name identifiers or their abbreviations.  For example: "ABC Inc.," ''ABC Co.," and "ABC Corp." are not distinguishable.
  • The substitution of an Arabic or Roman numeral for a spelled out number.  For example: “3 Kings," "III Kings," and “Three Kings," are not distinguishable.
  • The substitution of a lower case letter for a capital letter.  For example: "d" and "D" are not distinguishable.
  • The use of internet domain suffixes.  For example:  “.com,” “.org,” ".gov,” and ".net" are not distinguishable.
  • Contractions.  For example:  "Do Not Stop, Inc." is not distinguishable from "Don't Stop, Inc."
  • Variations in word endings.  For example:  "Betsy's Cleaners" is not distinguishable from "Betsy's Cleaning" and "ABC Transport, Inc." is not distinguishable from "ABC Transportation, Co."
  • Adding the letter "s" to make a word, including an alphabetism, plural or possessive.  For example: "Jay's Market" and "Jays Market" and "RM's Co." and "RMS Co." are not distinguishable.
  • Different spacing.  For example:  “Cross Roads Ranch” and “Crossroads Ranch” are not distinguishable.

What is a registered agent?

A registered agent is:

1) an individual who resides in this state and whose business office is identical to the registered office;

2) a domestic corporation or not-for-profit domestic corporation whose business office is identical to the registered office;

3) a foreign corporation or not-for-profit foreign corporation authorized to transact business in this state whose business office is identical to the registered office.

4) a domestic limited liability company whose business office is identical to the registered office, or;

5) a foreign limited liability company authorized to transact business in this state whose business office is identical to the registered office.

Who is the registered agent listed for my company?

You can verify the name and address of your registered agent and registered office through our online Business Entity Search.  There is not a fee charged for this service.

You can also call our office to obtain this information.

The Secretary of State’s website also provides a list of individuals and companies that will act as registered agent for you.  Each of the registered agents listed will charge a fee to act as your registered agent.

How do I change the Registered Agent listed for my company?
To change the registered agent for your company, you need to print and complete a Statement of Change form, which is Form #80 on our website. If you wish to receive a copy of the filed statement of change, an extra copy must be included.

Who are the officers and/or directors?

The name(s) and address(es) of officers and/or directors of a corporation, the name(s) and address(es) of the members or managers of a limited liability company, the partners of an assumed business name, limited partnership or limited liability partnership or an applicant of a trademark may be obtained through the online Registered Principals Search. This service requires payment. 

Why was I sent a dissolution notice?

Montana corporations and LLC’s and Foreign corporations and LLC’s are required to file an annual report each year with the Secretary of State which is due by April 15 for a filing fee of $20.00.

If the annual report is filed after April 15, the fee goes up to $35.00.

If the annual report is not filed on or before September 1 of each year, the entity receives an intent notice from this office letting them know their entity will be dissolved if the entity is a Montana entity or revoked if a foreign entity. 

A foreign entity has until November 1 or their entity will be revoked. 

A Montana entity has until December 1 to file the annual report or they are involuntarily dissolved.

What is an annual report?

An annual report provides a current listing of officers and directors for a corporation and members/managers for a limited liability company. The name and address of the registered agent and registered office may also be changed when filing the annual report.  The annual report is required to be filed by statute for each corporation and limited liability company that is registered with the Secretary of State’s office to remain in good standing in the State of Montana. 

How do I file an annual report?

The annual report may be filed online and paid for by credit card or personal/business checking account information.  You need to know your Folder ID number to file online. Your Folder ID is a alpha character followed by six numeric characters and should not contain a hyphen or space. That number can be found on your renewal notice as shown below.

Folder ID number on an annual report official notification

You can also obtain your folder id number by listing your company name in the Business Entity Search. If you need a paper annual report click here.

How do I change the principal office for my company?
To change the principal office for your company, you need to print and complete the appropriate form from our website.

Principal Office Address Change

If you wish to receive a copy of the filed change of principal office, an extra copy must be included.

How much are filing fees?

The filing fee for each document is provided on each individual form and on the Business Forms page.

Can I pay my filing fees online or by phone with a credit card?

Filing fees that can be paid by credit card are the Secretary of State's online services: